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Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Divisional Court confirms Human Rights Code provides statutory authority to demand an Independent Medical Exam

Back in December 2015, I wrote a blog post on a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision in Bottiglia v. Ottawa Catholic School Board. The case concerned the ability of an employer to demand an Independent Medical Exam in circumstances where there was no clear contractual or express statutory authority.

 

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The “G” word: Brooks v. Total Credit Recovery Limited

Brooks v. Total Credit Recovery Limited, a decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario examined words, their etymology, and their impact in the workplace.

 

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Family status: The employee’s obligation under “the Code”

The recent decision of Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc. reaffirms that family status accommodation under the Human Rights Code is a joint obligation, involving both the employee and employer.

 

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Disability and termination under the Human Rights Code

Under the Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code), an employee cannot be terminated due to a disability. If the Human Rights Tribunal finds that the termination was based in part or in whole on a disability, this may be considered a breach of the Code. The matter was addressed in one of the first Tribunal decisions of 2017, Ben Saad v. 1544982 Ontario Inc.

 

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Discrimination and a decision on remedies

In an application filed under the Human Rights Code of Ontario, once the matter has been heard, and the Tribunal has found the respondent to be liable, the next stage is that of remedy. Monetary and non–monetary damages may be awarded as was the case in Kohli v. International Clothiers, where the applicant, Ms. Kohli, had filed an application alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of sex.

 

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Medical documentation request after employee illness

Is an employer’s request for medical documentation after an employee’s illness in keeping with the Human Rights Code (“Code”)? The following case examines whether or not it is a breach of the Code for an employer to request medical documentation as a condition of returning an employee to work.

 

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Summary hearings and the burden of proof at the HRTO

For an application to be fully processed at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the applicant must establish a nexus or “connection” between the protected ground they are alleging and the conduct of the respondent. This was reiterated in the recent summary hearing of Wasty v. Long Wolf Real Estate Technologies.

 

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Does the Tribunal have the power to deal with allegations of “unfairness” at work?

Whether or not the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the power to deal with general allegations of unfairness in the workplace was recently revisited in Murray v. YouthLink.

 

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Can an employee “sign away” their human rights?: Brown v. Prime Communications Canada Inc.

The question of “can an employee “sign away” their human rights?” became relevant in a recent case. After signing a release with her employer, the Applicant filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging discrimination with respect to employment because of sex contrary to the Human Rights Code.

 

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To defer or not to defer a human rights application: What are the relevant questions?

Where the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario finds there is a separate proceeding that may involve similar facts, the Tribunal has discretion to defer consideration of an application until the proceeding has been completed. Such was the question, whether or not to defer the application in the recent interim order in West v.Yogen Fruz Canada Inc.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Implementation of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan; a human rights matter that addresses accommodation and mental disability; and a workplace safety and insurance matter that addresses modified work and entitlement to loss of earnings benefits.

 

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Summary hearings at the HRTO: Is an alternative explanation enough?

When a respondent is first made aware that a Human Rights application has been filed against them, often their first response is to deny any accusations and to request a summary hearing in hopes of disposing of the matter at the outset. While such hearings may be requested, it does not always work to the advantage of the respondent. Such was the case in the recent Interim Decision of Lomotey v. Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre.

 

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Family status protection for infrequent and unexpected childcare obligations #learnthelatest

A recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision confirms that family status protection may require employers to accommodate employees’ sporadic or unexpected absences to fulfill childcare obligations.

 

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Lawyer receives $1,000 for four minute wait constituting human rights breach

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario recently awarded an Ontario lawyer, $1,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect, as a result of his being stopped from entering the Riocan Empress Walk mall with his service dog.

 

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Duty to conduct workplace investigations increasing

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the role of investigations within HR and employment law. It is well-established that employers have a duty to investigate allegations of misconduct prior to taking disciplinary action. There is also a duty to investigate allegations of harassment or discrimination. There has been much emphasis on the manner of investigating such matters, and the need to be fair and impartial while also acting expeditiously. In the HR Law for HR Professionals course that I created for Osgoode Professional Development several years ago, investigations used to be a small part of one module. They now fill an entire day of the five day course. That is a clear indication of their growing importance.

 

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